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Quarantined L.A. Schoolkids Have Lower COVID Rates Than Vaccinated Teachers

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Public schools

Matt Welch | 9.21.2021 2:33 PM

If you got your pediatric COVID news from New York Times science and public health correspondent Apoorva Mandavilli, you might be under the mistaken impression that (as Mandavilla asserted Monday) "the reopening of schools has fueled the [recent] surge," and that "children are as likely as adults to transmit the virus to others, and more likely to do so than adults older than 60."

Neither of these claims are supported by the evidence.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rise in U.S. COVID hospitalizations began on June 28 (when the rate was at 0.56 per 100,000 residents), or precisely when most schools were closed for the summer. The rate then steadily climbed to 3.73 per 100,000 on August 27, at which point three-quarters of K-12 schools had flung open their doors. Now that the remaining 25 percent of schools have started the 2021-22 school year, hospitalizations are steadily sinking, down to 2.94/100,000.

As for children being "as likely as adults," and more likely than senior citizens, to transmit the virus, that sentence would be balderdash even after inserting the woefully missing qualifier "infected." As the CDC lays out in its school recommendations, students, proportionately, are not the ones spreading COVID inside school buildings: "[S]taff-to-staff transmission is more common than transmission from students to staff, staff to student, or student to student," the agency noted. "Findings from several studies suggest that SARS-CoV-2 transmission among students is relatively rare."

Mandavilli's shoddy article, dissected at hyperlinked length in this Twitter thread, deployed such pediatric scaremongering in the service of adding outside pressure to the Food and Drug Administration process of approving under-12 vaccinations. But a more accurate depiction of COVID and schools could be used to fix a policy error that's negatively affecting families right now: excessive school quarantine policies.

As has been clear since August, the single most important dataset involving kids and COVID would be coming out of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), which is testing a........

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